UK debt, financial restraints are a joke
The coalition government of the UK, announced its first budget on 22nd June 2010.
As was expected it generally included cuts. The coalition were adamant that these cuts would be fair and across the board. No more one law for the rich and one for the poor.
Of course, in reality, this was far from the truth. However, they seemed to have masked matters well and played a cunning hand. People on the whole seem to have accepted that a tightening of our belts was inevitable and must be endured.
This meant that the 24th June news reports, regarding massive bonuses for Network Rail chiefs, came as a slap in the face to those ordinary people, like me, who struggle to survive.
They also proved embarrassing for the Government.
The railways in the UK, when I was young, belonged to the country. Having been nationalised British Rail was heavily subsidised by the Government, so in effect it was owned by the people.
Some years ago, during one of the Conservative party governments, Margaret Thatcher's I think, the railway system was broken up. Private enterprise was encouraged and ordinary people were encouraged to invest in companies and become shareholders. For a time it was a golden age and people were making a killing left right and centre.
Inevitably the glory days of rail came and went and, these days, the UK rail system has plenty of problems. Do not get me wrong though. British Rail also had many problems.What makes it difficult these days though is that different companies own and run different parts of the UK railways. This has led to uneven pricing and services.
Network Rail still receives some tax payers money via government subsidises. Even if they did not though, the Coalition Government have been at pains trying to insist that top salaries, particularly in the public sector, will be held back. No more massive salaries and bonuses was the claim. In the private sector the government does not always have the power to stop such payments but with the company receiving government and taxpayers money surely it should, in the case of Network Rail.
Here are the details of what was announced:
- The Chief Executive of Network Rail, Iain Coucher, will get bonuses of more than £640,000.
- Other Network Rail directors are to get extra payments which all run into six-figure sums
- All in all the railway bosses will receive a total of more than £2 million in bonus payments.
It is only a short while ago that the Transport Secretary, Phillip Hammond asked that the Network Rail chiefs remembered how generous their ordinary pay was. With such levels of annual salary, massive bonus payments are not necessary and, in the current economic climate, are almost an insult to other public sector workers.
One company executive, Rick Haythornthwaite, is not taking any bonuses. He has said though that Network Rail only rewards success. Big deal. With such generous salaries should they receive any extra financial reward at all? Surely being a success is simply doing their jobs?
When you consider that public sector workers, who earn more than £21,000 a year, will have their pay frozen for two years, and those that earn less than £21,000 a year will receive a flat £250 for each of the years, it is not hard to realise that something is wrong.